Which Mid-Pricer? – Forwards



When the Gun’s are too pricey and the Rooks can’t be trusted where do we turn? It’s that dangerous price range known as midpricers.

To help navigate this dangerous terrain I’ve sent out a tweet earlier in the week asking what midprice forwards priced between $300k – $400k are peaking your interest. 

Below are the top 10 players mentioned and a quick analysis on each one.


Tom Hawkins $306,000

Why is he so cheap?

So, very, very cheap… It’s due to a season of averaging only 57 after quite a low scoring performances, including a few vest effected games.

Why Should I pick him?

Because you have $301K to spend on a forward and want someone who will definitely play 22 rounds and you have an over inflated amount of confidence that Hawkins will have more 80 games than 40’s this year as JPod’s departure and Vardy’s injury make him the more used tall target…


Nope, it won’t happen. Hawkins isn’t the type of player to go looking for the ball, so when he’s not having it dropped on his head, he’s not scoring well. Luckily this has worked decently for him in the past as he plays for Geelong who have very talented midfielders who’ll drop the ball on his head every day. These midfielders are quite numerous, one often starts as a sub and is then switched into the game (occasionally at Hawkin’s expense) when Geelong needs more run and carry in the 3rd quarter.
8 scores last year under 47 and 5 over 78 with a ceiling of 88 shows just how inconsistent Hawkins can be. Needs to kick bags to break 70, this won’t happen every week

Move along, there’s nothing to see here. 

Shaun Higgins $305,400

Why is he so cheap?

Because he’s Shaun Higgins! That’s why! He’s cheap every year, he receives the Shaun Higgin’s discount, you know? The one where a player with a crap load of potential get injured every year. So his price isn’t that high to start with, then get’s discounted practically every year. Averaged 71 points from his 3 games start to the season before missing the rest with a foot injury.

Why Should I pick him?

Because you have a devil may care attitude and never learnt not to touch the hot stove…
In all seriousness, he is guaranteed to be in the Bulldogs best 22 and can pump out occasional big scores when the mood strikes him, started last year with 115 against Brisbane. If he stays fit you’ll get upwards of a 70 point average, averaged 101 points per 100 minutes in the NAB comp.


Seriously… 101 in the NAB comp… maybe? Nope! Don’t do it, that 101 average is inflated. Only played half a game and came on in the second half in as the sub, this possibly raises concerns over whether Higgins is match fit yet. Also, this kid is made of glass. Incredibly talented player who could be amazing if injuries leave him alone, I wouldn’t take the risk though.

Nope nope never nope nope never never nope

Josh Caddy (mid) $343,500

Why is he so cheap?

Caddy is priced at an average of 62 points per game after wearing the sub vest and playing multiple positions in his first season as a cat.

Why Should I pick him?

Because it looks like Caddy has learnt a lot during his Geelong apprenticeship last year. If his NAB form is anything to go on, he’s added a bit of muscle and adopted Selwood’s in an under style. Playing predominately midfield throughout the campaign, Caddy averaged 104 points per 100 mins.


I don’t feel like I needed to sell anyone on this kid. So much so, I’m going to fill space here with an extra DT league code: 76P55Z72
We’ve all been waiting for Caddy’s breakout year, if he keeps playing as a pure midfielder, this is it.

Locks do not get any bigger than this! 

Luke Dahlhaus $381,100 

Why is he so cheap?

There’s no reason for him to really be considered cheap unless you’re basing it on consistent potential? Dahlhaus played every game last year and never wore a vest. With the exception of the odd cork or tag his scoring wasn’t really hampered by anything. Priced at an average of 70.

Why Should I pick him?

The only reason to pick Dahlhaus is because you believe that his natural progression will see him truly break out in his 4th season. Adding weight to that decision would be his 117 point average per 100 mins over the NAB competition.
Also the fact that up to the half way point of last season he was averaging 60 points per game. His last half of the season saw him produce an 80 point average. Progression?


Dahlhaus is one of those players who is an absolute joy to watch go about the game. I just personally won’t be trusting him this year. Could be an absolute smokie of a pick if he breaks out and you’re one of the few who took the punt but I think there are much safer options on this list.

Not this year for me


Matthew Wright (mid) $368,900

Why is he so cheap?

Matthew Wright played 16 games last year. In 5 of those he was used as a sub. In 4 for the non sub games he was used as a tagger. Averaged 68 points for the season.

Why Should I pick him?

When he’s not wearing a vest or a player (that sounded better in my head, you know, as in tagging) he is a very fantasy friendly scorer. Take out the above mentioned games and we see an average of 84 points per game.
During this years NAB challenge he’s averaged a massive 130 points per 100 mins!


If I could guarantee that Wright would be left to just play footy like he was in the NAB comp then he would be one of the biggest locks on this list. Unfortunately given his history we can’t. Don’t blame the player on this one, blame the coach!

What a waste… do not touch


Dayne Zorko (mid) $400,100

Why is he so cheap?

Zorko the magnificent! Watch as he makes himself disappear during a game… This was his favourite party trick last year. Was very good at it too as he had thousands of fantasy coaches looking for him! Finished the season on a 73 points averaged.

Why Should I pick him?

On his day Zorko is capable of knocking out decent numbers. Averaged 94 points per game in his first season in 2012 which included 2 scores of 140. Definitely capable. Averaged 106 points per 100 minutes during the NAB challenge. Has Zorko reappeared?


Based on last year you couldn’t justify spending this much on him. But if Zorko recaptures that 2012 form then he’s definitely a bargain. Does have a tendency to score all his points during little purple patches in games, did this again in NAB 1 which is a cause for concern. His 73 point average from last was exactly terrible but his deviation from his average score is purely terrifying. For example Round 12 – 60, Round 13 – 80, Round 14 – 57, Round 15 – 85, Round 16 – 53… That alone is enough to put me off.

Those NAB scores may as well be an illusion, no thanks.


Rhys Palmer (mid) $394,700

Why is he so cheap?

Palmer played only a handful of games (11) for GWS last year, one of which included wearing the sub vest. In these games he was used primarily as a forward tagger. Trying to limit opposition teams setting up out of defence by tagging players like Birchall, Hurn, Hartlett and Enright. Managed an average score of 72 points per game.

Why Should I pick him?

4 games last year he scored over 100. Has always been a ball magnet.
Went into the NAB challenge with something to prove, literally using his body as a battering ram and launching into multiple contests. Finished the NAB comp with an average of 115 points per 100 mins.


Job Security is a massive issue here. While he gives the Giants another mature body it seems last year he was used quite specifically to curb certain players influence. Could be seen though as while Palmer is getting games, he’s taking the place of a young player who could be getting experience.

Not in anyway a reliable player


Craig Bird (mid) $387,300

Why is he so cheap?

Severely sub effected in 4 games last year (severe as in not used till the last quarter) then made a name for himself as an effective tagger. Given tagging duties in 9 games, finished the year with an average of 70 points per game.

Why Should I pick him?

Considering those sub scores, that 70 average isn’t actually too bad. Just taking out sub effected scores sees his average rise another 10 points.
Here’s the biggest reason I believe Bird should be at least considered. When he’s let run free, he racks them up pretty well. Averaging between 90 – 120 when allowed freedom. So I believe you should pick him, with a massive asterisks…*
Coming off a very impressive NAB game against WCE where he score 119 points from 68% TOG. That’s 152 points per 100 minutes!


I don’t think Bird is a keeper, while he is slightly underpriced due to vestings, his tagging duties quite often leave him dishing out a 60 range score too often. But here come’s the asterisks *FREE HIT ALERT* Sydney has GWS in round 1. In the two full games Bird has played against GWS he has been allowed to run free and scored 127 and 116. Could be a handy inclusion.

Gotta take the chance round 1 but has to be gone by round 2, played Collingwood twice last year for 67 and 68 points!


Jack Darling $374,500

Why is he so cheap?

Darling had the definition of a roller coaster season last year. With WCE struggling, particularly towards the end of the season, West Coast forwards were left starved of opportunity. Averaged 69 points for the season.

Why Should I pick him?

The reason to pick Darling this year is based on his inclusion into the ‘midfield rotation’ club. Seemingly splitting these duties with LeCras, it looks like we will see Darling further up the field and getting on the end of a few kick mark combos along the wing if the NAB comp was anything to go by.
Speaking of the NAB comp, Darling averaged a tasty 99 points per 100 mins.


With the Eagles using him as their get out of trouble kick when he’s running through the mids (floating along the wings) the potential for improvement is definitely there! Throw that together with West Coast’s ‘easy draw’ and we could certainly see Darling’s average rise. Unfortunately this is still too much speculation for me.

I’ll be monitoring Darling’s role in the first few games before making a decision still.


Matthew Pavlich $393,100

Why is he so cheap?
With surgery on his hip and achilles hampering his preseason, Pav went into 2013 underdone. Played the first 3 games until the achilles flared back up. Went back into surgery and didn’t see AFL acton again till round 15. Finished the season with a 77 point average, finishing the season quite strongly.
Why Should I pick him?
Before last year, the last time Pavlich averaged under 90 points in a season was 2004… and that year he averages 88. So priced at 77 points this year puts Pav into the ‘bargain’ territory.
Looks to have smashed the preseason and is showing no signs of ankle problems, hasn’t really since coming back from surgery last year.
Need a little more confidence that that? Pav finished the NAB comp with an average of 93 points per 100 mins. Looks to be back in form to me.
VerdictShould rise in price and be able to jump to a falling premo if not lock him in as a keeper. Even with Freo’s tough draw, you know he’ll get plenty of opportunity because he is the type of forward who will go hunting for a touch if it dries up. Should be a relative POD player too judging from teams so far.
Only thing against him for me is possibly his price, can we get someone cheaper on this list to do better…?
Lock him in for reliability and enjoy the slight price rise and 90 point average.

You wouldn’t be wanting to start too many of these guys in the same team, But with so little decent cash cow rookie fwd options this year fitting in one or two could provide some decent job security while scoring and still earning cash. Do any fit your structure? Who are you considering? Are there any smokies I missed?

Join the conversation below and let us know your thoughts? 

Thanks for reading the mid price series! Follow my ramblings on twitter: @Anthonydsmith86


  • Great write up Anthony, some interesting thoughts.

    Got Caddy locked in, he will see a lot of time on the ball. Had Pavlich and Parker but I loaded up with an extra rook and upgraded to T Mitchell and Gunston instead. Time will tell.

  • Thanks for the article mate, but I think you’re being a little harsh on a few players. For example, Hawkins was severely limited last year by that back issue. Dahlhaus seems to be running through the mids/wing/high half fwd role rather than playing stay at home fwd too in the last 5 games last year and nab cup this year. What is there to lose from starting Higgins apart from perhaps 70 points max should he get injured during the first half of a game? I’m more inclined to take the punt on him than rely on a rookie. No thoughts on Robbie Gray? Once again, thanks for the time and effort mate.

    • Every year I pick Gray, every year he gets injured. Not in my team this year, so watch him smash it!

    • Probably worth finding the extra 1.6k for Pav, which is exactly what I’ve done instead

    • Probably was a bit harsh on Hawkins but if you take a look back his best 3 season averages have been 77, 64 and 69. This will be his 8th year in the system. No doubting that he is a talented player and good at what he does. It just hasn’t been particularly fantasy friendly in the past and I don’t see he game style changing to make it better this year. Last year was a below average year, as you mentioned, carrying an injury saw him produce possibly lower scores and be subbed once or twice. But in these article I’m tending to look at more of a ‘would you rather scenario’. He’ll be decent if you want to play him but I want better than decent. So in a ‘would you rather’ I’m thinking the extra $40K for Caddy would leave you feeling happier. Than it coming down to a Geelong game on a sunday and it’s you with Hawkins vs your mate with Caddy. Who would be feeling more confident there?

      Dahlhaus is running through the mids a lot, you are right there. But checking back on where he scored his points last year it isn’t much different from the end to the beginning, he had stints through the mids through out the season. I do think he’ll definitely improve, no doubt about it. I just think there’s more improvement in this list.

      Higgins… come on man? You’re right, you’ve got nothing to lose by starting with Higgins, you’ve got a lot less to lose by not starting with Higgins though ;) I’m sorry man, i’m not sold on him at this stage. Not only is his injury history scary, but he’s only played half a NAB game. That half a NAB was a bit of a worry for me too. Not only is it a possible indication of his current stage of match fitness, but it was reported that Higgins has trained all preseason exclusively with the backs. Then played the NAB in the half back position. How that will effect his scoring if he has to man up is another ‘unknown’ variable. Nothing to lose by starting him, less than nothing to lose by possibly downgrading to him if he’s doing well…

      Robbie Gray didn’t make the list! He did have 1 vote from memory but yeah.
      Here we go bud.
      Robbie Gray $391,700
      Injury interrupted preseason plus a few vests on return see’s Gray priced at an average of 72.
      Remove those games and we get a better look at Gray’s ability and potential.
      Best thing to like about Gray is (once again, removing those vested games) he has a very tidy standard deviation, rarely venturing from his average of 80 points per game. That’s not a bad lock, especially if you’re willing to take that 80 point average then be pleasantly surprised by a 110 – 130 every so often.
      Massive fan of this kids potential and if he is truly over those injury concerns you’ll have no hesitation in locking him in!
      Only played the one NAB match (is that a concern?) but played 72% TOG for a score of 83!

      Hope that helps bud!

      • Mate – that’s a seriously committed comment and helpful comment! Respect

      • This is dedication

      • True gent finding time to respond in that much detail. I have Gray locked in for round 1. Huge potential if he stays injury free.

        • Thanks for the reply mate – quality. I reckon Hawkins should be able to raise his average 15-20 ppg. In saying that, I have Caddy over him. Dahlhaus and Gray will be great this year I think. Higgins is always tempting but at 272k if he spuds it can always downgrade to a promising rookie or sideways to a mid pricer. Thanks for article mate, wasn’t trying to have a dig haha.

  • Good stuff Anthony.

    Higgins and Caddy locked and loaded! Tossing up between Gunston and Pav. Leaning towards Gunston at this stage though.

  • Had Pav, but after the last Game when he seemed pissed off against the Weagles i am worried and considering Freos hard draw big big risk. Might be an upgrade target

  • What are your thoughts on varcoe? He got some good preseason scores, I didn’t see any Geelong games though.

    • I think he’s injured and out for a while

      • Haven’t heard about his injury. I don’t trust him as a reliable scorer. His standard deviation has always been too far out for me. He’s the typical, one week he gets 60, next week he gets 100. Inconsistency is a massive issue for me, always prefer a player I know I’ll get the safe 80 from both weeks than the roller coaster.

        • Can’t remember where I heard it, think it might have been from an interview by Jelwood, but it said Varcoe was in the best shape ever. I know that 96% of players seem to be in the best shape ever during per season but worth a punt for round 1 I reckon

  • 2 spots left in RDT, 819133, srs dreamteamers man we want a good league, I’ll stop begging when I’m filled

  • Wanting some experienced coaches to join my leagues made the top 1000 last year along with a few mates that have allready joined up my rdt code is 258495 and fantasy classic is Qa3HOP6f they will be very competive leagues

  • Great article Anthony. Cheers for all the great work.

    For something a bit different! For all the lovers of heavy basslines, junglists & DNBheads everywhere:

    RDT league code: DT Talk Andy C 843676

    Junglist massive get around it! I know you’re out there

  • My team name is the pigeon loft my mate (headturners made th top 100 and is a very good coach

  • Wtf is with the guys plugging their leagues. Stick to the topic.

  • i’ve popped higgins in for the round 1 free hit, just hope he doesn’t tempt me too much to keep him for round 2!

  • Apart from varcoe are there any thoughts on elliot and Kennedy from the pies?

  • Pav seems to have lost a fair bit of beef since last season, I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing. He’s too slender for my liking, and I don’t think he’s fully fit either.

    • News around is he is over his injuries and as fit as he has ever been.

      • Pav’s gunning it on the training track bud. Best preseason he’s had in awhile!

  • Sportsbets AFL fantasy competition for 2014 has bugger all entrants and with $50,000 in prizes it might be worth putting a team in.
    Take a look – http://aflne.ws/SBfantasyfooty

  • do views on wright take into consideration the injuries to van berlo and douglas?

    • It’s a good point man, especially with Vince leaving too. Unfortunately for Wright’s case he played the majority of last weeks game through the mids for a score of 44. I’d like to find an excuse for that but looks like he had everything going for him and dished that out…
      Still, like I said, I wouldn’t ‘Wright’ him off (see what I did there? late night puns) yet, I’d just be hesitant to start with him. Maybe watch his role during the season proper then pounce if he’s looking tasty?

  • Thanks for the detailed read and the tip on Bird.

    Dahlhaus has been on my radar since the end of last year. The kid reminds me of GAJ in his young days, I have watched him closely this NAB Cup and have full confidence in selecting him this season from round 2. A trip over to Subiaco for round 1 will prove tough, so I will play Bird instead of Dahlhaus. Cheers again for the tip.

    Not sold on the Pav just yet, Freako’s stats show 74pts/100min and only 59% game time, he’ll be on my radar though.

    Varcoe vs Higgins is my issue. Currently leaning toward Higgins for a fixture based theory and the fact that I’ve never selected him before. Hopefully he finally provides what the DT/Fantasy community have been predicting this year. I think as much as WCE have been tipped to be big risers this year my money is on the Doggies to climb up the ranks the most, WCE are equally as dangerous making the fight for the final 3 spots in the top 8 very interesting.

  • DT TALK South Australia league: 7494ZJ6S

  • Cheers, Anthony… you’ve nicely summed up the thoughts of many. For the record, Caddy is a lock, and I think you’ve been a tad harsh on Dahlhaus. I’ve taken Higgins Rnd 1 and will upgrade him to Dahlhaus when/if Higgins breaks. Any thoughts on Pason Porplyzia & Lewis Johnston (ADE), Adam Schneider (STK), Jamie Cripps & Josh Hill (WCE), Jeremy Howe (MEL), Ben Howlett (ESS) & Stewart Crameri (WBD)??
    Thanx, Anthony

  • Anthony.

    Good write up mate, but its still doing my head in.

    Pavlich Vs Gray

    I’ve got a good feeling about about Robbie Gray but have locked in Pavlich as the safe pick.

    I think with Pavlich you would expect an 85 average quite easily, but with Gray – if he got a 85 average you would be stoked. With such a small difference in price, my head has won this battle… for now

  • hey mate my question is im wondering if i can get a better quality replacement for buddy cheaper? pav cant do worse than buddy this season can he? who do you think, should i keep buddy or use cash elsewhere.

    my idea was bird rd 1 then pav?

  • Whats your take on jarrad waite.

    350k+ can be a beast at times.

    Downfall: injury, suspensions.

    Bit left field but u think he could be worth a gamble??